“Impact” Review and Thoughts 11/27/08By Drowgoddess · · 10 Comments
Oh, forget it. This week is less of a review and more of a rant. I’m quite well aware that no one in a position of power in TNA reads this column on this site. I’m quite well aware that if they did, the things written here would mean absolutely nothing to any of them. I’m also quite well aware that business as usual will continue until the company dies and all in it are forced to seek other employment, mostly to no avail. All the same, on this Thanksgiving holiday, the so-called creative team and the powers-that-be of TNA should be giving most profuse thanks that my access to multiple large-caliber weapons and 55-gallon drums of chloroform are limited by a low-paying career in public education. (If anyone considers that statement to be a legitimate threat of violence, calm down. It’s a literary device, nothing more. That I must point that out is beyond sad.) How anyone can remain as blissfully unscathed by the ravages of intelligence and self-awareness as Dixie Carter, Jeff Jarrett, Dutch Mantel, and everyone else who runs TNA seem to be is completely beyond my comprehension. The intriguing possibilities that were raised with the introduction of the Main Event Mafia versus the TNA Front Line (at least they have a new name) have been squandered, and it’s too late to go back. Like Vince McMahon and the Invasion angle, you’ve just pissed away what could have revitalized your company, and I despise you for it.
As the rest of my beloved Triumvirate of TN-Awesomeness can attest, we WANT to like TNA, and some of us have tried very hard. It certainly hasn’t been easy to support TNA, not when they seem to go out of their way to find reasons to drive fans away. Some will say that this is an overreaction, that it’s just wrestling and shouldn’t be taken so personally, or that it’s TNA and it sucks and how could I expect anything else? The hip and trendy cynicism isn’t my style. I keep believing in TNA because of what it could and should be, rather than what it is. TNA has become the perpetually underachieving and troublemaking child. Some of you know the type very well. The one who could reach glorious heights of success and has all the means with which to do so, but continues to make bad decisions, run with the wrong crowd, and generally cause the poor, frustrated parents who genuinely love him to tear out handfuls of their own hair before having the kid committed for evaluation or allowing him to spend the week in jail. It doesn’t have to be that way, and everyone knows it. If you don’t take this at least a little personally, you weren’t emotionally invested in the product to begin with. At least we have some wrestling matches tonight. Too bad the only reason that we get those matches is a painfully asinine gimmick tournament that means nothing at all.
Promo time. Rhino is now the leader of the TNA Originals, it seems. He is, after all, SOOO closely identified with TNA. He gets to name the group, and he calls them the TNA Front Line. Frontline? Yes, we now have our struggling babyface faction of up-and-comers named after a flea and tick medication for dogs and cats. Good one. So we’ve gone from talking about WWE constantly to talking about ECW constantly. It makes no difference! Either way, the implication is that the present company isn’t worth anything on its own, and that it has to follow the mold of something else that came before. By talking up the original ECW, and saying that he believes in TNA the same way he believed in ECW, is Rhino implying that TNA will become even more craptacular before it withers away and dies? Not a good idea. Perhaps the parallel they are using does not send the message that they think it does. So now the leadership of the underdog good guys has been taken over by someone who has not been a major player in quite some time, and he announces that they aren’t strong enough and need more members. Jeebus, is it possible to make this faction look any weaker? Rhino hasn’t even been a big time player in TNA for a long time, and he’s telling the whole faction that they don’t have the experience to handle their business? That they need more people or they’ll lose? What is wrong with you people???? The Main Event Mafia comes out and warns Rhino to think about what he’s doing. Why? That there is no actual war because one faction is no threat whatsoever has already been established.
To the back! JB tells Angle that Mick Foley has been appointed Special Enforcer for the Angle/Rhino match at “Final Resolution.” Yawn. I never thought I’d say this about him, but Foley’s been totally calling it in. He’s been a tremendous disappointment for me. Special enforcers are overused anyway, and never add anything positive to the matches.
Match #1: Rhino defeats Sonjay Dutt and Hernandez: The first Turkey Bowl match. We have to have stupid gimmick contests to get actual wrestling on a show whose previous slogan was “We are wrestling.” Nice. Rhino had to win this, as he’s now the team captain. It would have been nice to have him win a match that actually meant something instead. The actual wrestling wasn’t even that good. I’m digging evil slutty Val, but the Sonjay/Val heel turn has been completely wasted.
To the back! Angle is yelling at Jarrett in the office while JB just stands there. Is Jarrett such a coward that he has to hide behind Foley? Jarrett claims that Foley has been put in the match to avoid interference by the Main Event Mafia, and that if Angle’s “thugs” get involved in the match, Jarrett will personally come down to the ring and tear up Angle’s contract. Um, if Jarrett can do that, why do we need a special enforcer at all?
More promo! Rhino takes Samoa Joe and AJ Styles to the locker room of none other than Team 3D, and the recruitment effort begins. Joe and AJ get to say very little. It’s all about the Rhino. To be fair, this has been some of his better non-shouting promo work. Brother Devon refers to the Front Line going against the MEM on their own as a “massacre” and a “joke.” You know, in case one or two fans didn’t click to the fact that everyone on the TNA roster who has not held a world championship in another company is a complete loser. Will Team 3D join the Front Line? Stay tuned to find out.
Match #2: Alex Shelley defeats Consequences Creed and Cute Kip: We have another wrestling match, which is good. It’s one of three qualifying matches for the Turkey Bowl, which is not so good. Alex Shelley defeats Consequences Creed and Cute Kip to advance, though once again, the wrestling itself was not that good. Yes, the best wrestler won, which should be a positive thing. That this ridiculous Turkey Bowl is even happening is bad enough. That it involves no members of the Main Event Mafia makes it a bad joke before the match even takes place. They are clearly above this nonsense. So too should everyone else be. As soon as this match ends, everyone with two functional brain cells to rub together knows that Alex Shelley is going to have to wear the turkey costume. Mick Foley may as well have announced it. Again, Foley’s wrath directed at Alex Shelley seems disproportionately severe for Shelley’s behavior. Sure, he’s made several flippant and disrespectful comments. In the middle of a war for control of TNA, is that really so important? If there’s more to the story than that, no promo time on either side has been given to express it. The way that things have been presented, Mick Foley just seems too angry at Alex Shelley for no real reason. He should be taking out that anger and frustration on the Main Event Mafia.
To the back! The Beautiful People, complete with thrones and scepters, are in full awesomeness mode. Their insulting tirade against Lauren is cut short by the delivery of a letter from Sarah Palin (really?) respectfully declining their invitation to the ppv due to a previously scheduled moose hunt, but that she will be there next Thursday to pick up the check as a donation to her favorite charity. Angelina and Velvet get all giddy and bouncy, and life is good. Sharmell interrupts the happiness to inform them that Booker will see the Beautiful People right now. Hmm….
More promo time from Jeff Jarrett’s office. Jarrett actually continues to refer to the Front Line as “these kids.” Stop. Right there. That term should never again come out of your mouth. You’ve essentially buried and insulted your own babyface faction. No wonder no one cheers for them or gets behind them. They aren’t seen as courageous, plucky underdogs, they’re called “kids” by the guy who is supposed to be on their side! Jarrett even tells Rhino that for the sake of the business concentrate on Angle and forget about the afore-mentioned “kids” for now. Do I even need to explain how wrong this is?
“Rough Cut” segment on LAX. This is pretty good. Now, if LAX were just doing something, like, I don’t know, going after the tag team championships? Hey, it was just a thought.
To the back! Scott Steiner approaches Team 3D in their locker room. The Mafia is going to make them an offer they can’t refuse. Yay.
To the back! Again! Christy Hemme is begging Tracy Brooks for a shot at Awesome Kong. Christy Hemme is a gorgeous woman. She cannot act her way out of a wet paper bag. Everything she says comes across as bad porn. “I want it sooo bad!” Tracy gives her a match against Raisha Saeed, and if Christy wins, she gets a Knockouts title shot at Awesome Kong at the ppv. Oh, how far the Knockouts division has fallen! Christy Hemme has no business anywhere near a title shot, as her wrestling is only slightly superior to her acting. ODB, who was supposed to be the one person who could go with Kong, has a fight with Sharmell, who is not even a wrestler. Oh, Scott D’amore, how we miss thee!
Match #3: Sheik Abdul Bashir (X-Division Champion) defeats Jimmy Rave and Matt Morgan: Another Turkey Bowl match, and I stand by what I said about the previous matches in regard to that. The right wrestler won the match, and that should be a good thing, despite the relatively poor quality of the match itself. Rave and Bashir, for sure, are better than this. However, the whole Bashir character needs to go. September 11 was in 2001. We’re almost in 2009. The gimmick is not timely, controversial, thought-provoking, or in any way cutting-edge. Shawn Daivari can wrestle. Give him whatever name you want, but stop with the whole anti-American schtick. It’s not as if he’s so good at being a heel that he provokes an intense reaction. The entire gimmick is cheap heat. It doesn’t help anyone. TNA just seems to be screaming, “Look! Look how political and relevant we are!” when, in fact, they are neither. It’s not like the same idea worked so well the last time it was done.
To the back! The Beautiful People are in Booker and Sharmell’s locker room. Why Does Kip get to speak for them? He needs to go away. Permanently. The deal appears to be thusly –Booker wants the Beautiful People to escort Sharmell to the ring and provide backup at all times between now and the ppv match. He will “look out for them” if they do it. Angelina and Velvet speak up and say that if they do it, they want Booker’ locker room in return. Booker and Sharmell explode. Kip points out that if Booker won’t agree, it will be “clean up on Aisle 3” when ODB destroys his “lovely queen, Sharmell.” Sharmell kicks everyone out so that they can talk about it.
More backstage promo time! Now the entire Main Event Mafia is in Team 3D’s locker room. Angle reminds them how the Motor City Machine Guns disrespected them, and that they had saved the best for last. Brother Ray isn’t buying it. Steiner hands Ray and Devon suits, and tells them to put them on when they’ve made up their minds so it can be official. He says that the suits are “tailored husky, they should fit.” Ok, that was funny.
Match #4: Christy Hemme defeats Raisha Saeed: If Christy Hemme wins, she gets a title match against Kong at the ppv. It was what it was. She wins. She gets the title match. Ok. Seeing Christy Hemme on the ppv is good. Seeing her actually wrestle against Awesome Kong in a title match is not so good. Raisha Saeed has cool entrance music, though. I’m still waiting for the Raisha Saeed/Sheik Abdul Bashir hook-up. Come on, you know you want to see it too!
Sit-down interview with Mike Tenay. AJ Styles gets to explain what Sting was talking about when Sting claimed that AJ had been kicked out of the house by his dad at the age of fifteen. AJ gets seriously emotional as he recounts having to leave home after knocking out his drunken father who had beaten up his mother.
To the back! Lauren is with Sting and Kevin Nash, and asks them their thoughts on what AJ just said. Sting is conflicted, but Nash says AJ is a liar and a spoiled brat.
To the back! Lauren is with the Motor City Machine Guns, and asks Alex Shelley what he would do with the $25,000 if he wins tonight. Shelley is pumped, and considers buying AJ Styles a personality (no, not enough money for that), Samoa Joe a singlet (no, you can’t buy that much material at once), or a new wardrobe for Mick Foley. In a completely valid point, Shelley says that Foley should dress like a grown man for once, and that he looks like a bum who doesn’t own any part of TNA. After a high-five with Chris Sabin, Shelley is off to the ring.
Match #5: Turkey Bowl Finals – Rhino defeats Alex Shelley (pinfall) and Sheik Abdul Bashir: Aside from an Eddie Guerrero-esque moment of Shelley kicking it on the ropes and letting his two opponents kill each other, this match was not so great. It should have been, as all three guy s in it are capable of so much more. Rhino pinning Shelley was a foregone conclusion. Why is it fine for Team 3D to point out that wrestling is a business and it’s every man for himself, but the announcers moan and wail as if Alex Shelley somehow betrayed Rhino by doing whatever he could to win a match? A match, by the way, where the winner gets $25,000 and the loser has to wear a turkey costume? Why shouldn’t Alex Shelley team up with the smaller opponent to take out the larger one? Was Shelley supposed to lay down for Rhino because Rhino took over the faction? What would have made things interesting would have been Shelley stealing a pin from Rhino on Bashir. Then you still have a hated heel forced to wear the turkey outfit. Mick Foley would have had to give Shelley the $25,000 and acknowledge that he had done better than he had expected. Rhino and Shelley would have had something to bicker over, as Shelley is reluctant to accept Rhino’s leadership anyway. Foley continues to say that Shelley is good, but not irreplaceable. He wants him in the company, but he doesn’t need him in the company. For the love of whatever form of divinity you hold dear, stop burying the non-WWE/WCW talent on the air! Keep telling the fans that a wrestler is a loser, in so many words, and they’ll believe you eventually. Foley comes off as a vindictive prick who has it out for Alex Shelley for some unknown reason. Sure, Shelley’s been a disrespectful jerk. Doesn’t Foley have bigger problems? Like the “war” against the Main Event Mafia and his entire financial future? If there’s a reason for Foley to treat Shelley with such venom, it hasn’t been made clear. By the way, how does Chris Sabin fit in with all of this? He hasn’t made the comments out loud that Shelley has, but he’s hardly an innocent bystander in the situation. Since the Guns are usually referred to collectively in terms of being selfish and disrespectful, he can’t be ignored forever.
To the ring! Rhino, Joe, and AJ call out Team 3D and demand a decision. The Main Event Mafia comes out on the ramp and does the same. Team 3D come out in suits, and the announcers play it up as though it were a given that Team 3D would side with the MEM. After a lengthy promo, Brother Ray opens his jacket and leans forward, allowing AJ to take a baton from the inside jacket pocket and charge the MEM with it. The swerve that everyone saw coming from a mile away happened, and Team 3D has joined the Front Line. At least for the moment. Joe and AJ now have their two partners for the ppv eight-man tag match. Wait! So the same Joe and AJ who so vehemently opposed the “by any means necessary” idea when the Motor City Machine Guns tried to help Jay Lethal beat Sting and win the world title now cheerfully embrace sneak-attacking the MEM with weapons and additional help? Pot, I’d like you to meet my friend, Kettle Black. We close with the Front Line, only two of whom could reasonably be considered TNA originals, posing in the ring.
My soul hurts. TNA is like the cheating, mentally abusive significant other that you try to leave, but you just can’t because you know how good it has been in the past and you know you can have it again if you try hard enough. Still, next week I shall return with the weekly review of “Impact,” plus predictions for “Final Resolution.” And if I do not, avenge my death!
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